Tag: Nerve Regeneration
UCLA research finds that nerve cells regrow better when glial scarring is left intact
Neuroscientists have long believed that scar tissue formed by glial cells — the cells that surround neurons in the central nervous system — impedes damaged nerve cells from regrowing after a brain or spinal cord injury. So it’s no wonder that researchers have assumed that if they could find a way to remove or counteract that scar tissue, injured neurons might spontaneously repair themselves.
A new study by UCLA scientists now shows that this assumption might have been impeding research on repairing spinal cord injuries.
Findings by UCLA-led collaboration are an early step toward potential treatments for injuries to the central nervous system
Newswise — Whether or not nerve cells are able to regrow after injury depends on their location in the body. Injured nerve cells in the peripheral nervous system, such as those in the arms and legs, can recover and regrow, at least to some extent. But nerve cells in the central nervous system — the brain and spinal cord — can’t recover at all.
Spinal cord injury regeneration may be possible harnessing the brain repair mechanism known as axons, according to findings published in The Journal of Neuroscience.
Researchers from University of South Carolina examined RNA function in order to test the ability of axons to aid regeneration of nerves. The team set out to find a way to bridge what they called the “regenerative gap” between the peripheral nervous system and the central nervous system.
Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report a previously unappreciated phenomenon in which the location of injury to a neuron’s communication wire in the spinal cord — the axon — determines whether the neuron simply stabilizes or attempts to regenerate. The study, published April 30 by Neuron, demonstrates how advances in live-imaging techniques are revealing new insights into the body’s ability to respond to spinal cord injuries.
The research objective of Dr.-Ing. Laura De Laporte, junior group leader at DWI – Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials in Aachen, is to develop a minimally invasive therapy for spinal cord injury. Her goal and her scientific approach to develop an injectable material with the ability to provide biochemical and physical guidance for regenerating nerves across the injury site, was selected by the European Research Council (ERC). Laura De Laporte now receives a 1.5 Million Euro ERC Starting Grant for her project ANISOGEL.
Damage to the spinal cord rarely heals because the injured nerve cells fail to regenerate. The regrowth of their long nerve fibers is hindered by scar tissue and molecular processes inside the nerves. An international team of researchers led by DZNE scientists in Bonn now reports in Science that help might be on the way from an unexpected quarter: in animal studies, the cancer drug epothilone reduced the formation of scar tissue in injuries to the spinal cord and stimulated growth in damaged nerve cells. Both promoted neuronal regeneration and improved the animals’ motor skills.
Traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) is a severely disabling condition that can result in full or partial paralysis, as well as sensory and autonomic dysfunction. SCI has an estimated incidence of 12,000 new cases per year in the United States alone, caused primarily by automobile accidents, falls, violence and sports. Despite extensive research, an effective cure is yet to be defined.
The spinal cord is the bridge between the brain and the rest of the body, conveying motor and sensory information between them. When injury to the spinal cord occurs, these pathways are interrupted, with motor control and sensory perception being impaired as a consequence.
MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Bradley T. Lang, PhD Researcher, Jerry Silver Lab Department of Neurosciences Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
COLUMBIA, Mo. – Fish, unlike humans, can regenerate nerve connections and recover normal mobility following an injury to their spinal cord. Now, University of Missouri researchers have discovered how the sea lamprey, an eel-like fish, regrows the neurons that comprise the long nerve “highways” that link the brain to the spinal cord. Findings may guide future efforts to promote recovery in humans who have suffered spinal cord injuries.
“There is a lot of attention to why, following a spinal cord injury, neurons regenerate in lower vertebrates, such as the sea lamprey, and why they don’t in higher vertebrates, such as humans,” said Andrew McClellan, professor of biological sciences in the College of Arts and Science and director of the UM Spinal Cord Injury Research Program (SCIRP).